To be completely honest, I’ve been looking forward to Launch since my freshman year, dreaming about standing up and giving a presentation, on a topic that meant a lot to me, in front of the entire high school. That dream lives on even after talking about reaching to new heights, and I very much hope that we will stick to the general layout of Launch, even if it is “new and improved.” I personally loved the idea of the Launch Gala in addition to the actual day, to give us an idea of what a professional presentation of information might look like to alumni and community members, as opposed to a presentation to our peers only.
The concept of including other high schools also intrigues me, which would allow us to expand the reaches of our research past their normal bounds, whether that be through inviting other schools here to see our presentations or traveling to other schools. In general, I feel like supplementary presentations would be the best option for showcasing our research as opposed to completely redesigning the process.
This portion of Craft of Research emphasized the importance of maintaining specificity while crafting an argument, which clearly ties into the importance of the research itself. I know I still have plenty of research to do, but I’m confident that there is no lack of information for me to find in the direction I’m heading. Organizing all of my thoughts into a gingko tree was as helpful as anything I’ve done thus far in terms of grounding me and pointing me in the right direction for what to research next. I can see my thesis starting to take shape, and as I explore what I already have, more and more possibilities for expansion keep coming to mind.
I already have an idea for one of my paper’s major claims, which came to mind as I started making connections in my research. I’ve also found many new sources that I have yet to annotate that can hopefully lead me to more of these connections so that I can start forming the major claims of my paper and organizing my sources to find the best evidence to support them.
Over spring break, I opted for a couple of extended vault sessions in CC’s in the earlier portion of the week. While I did find and analyze some new sources, a good portion of my time was also dedicated to putting all of my information down into a gingko tree to connect it all in a way that I could see. Though it was originally just a plan to organize my thoughts, I ended up finding some connections that I’ve never seen before. I think the one most relevant to my thesis is the subjectivity of art as it relates to the individualistic philosophy of existentialism. I think the argument that art is a fitting medium for existential concepts because it is such an individualized form of expression could end up being a claim or subclaim in my actual thesis.
In terms of actual research, I followed the same path I’ve been on looking at how art affects the stress response in the body and how existential ideas occur in artistic forms. With the last couple of days of my vault time this upcoming week, I’m going to try and take a look at some specific examples of existential artwork and analyze how they affect both their creators and viewers.
This week, I dedicated my time to exploring the history of art as a form of interpretation. The most interesting source I came across detailed the emergence of the performance art movement, which began in the early to mid twentieth century. Performance art was the idea that art should be used to promote social awareness and call attention to something. Generally speaking, performance art was meant to be experienced once and only once, not resulting in any sort of tangible product, but rather to have a mental and emotional effect. This movement emerged at the the same time that the existentialist movement did, so I hope next week that I can make some connections between the two.
Sorry this is a week late, but last week was dedicated mostly to solidifying my topic into something I felt comfortable with and something that accurately reflects my interests. The topic I ended up landing on was a study of how existentialist ideals appear in visual and performing arts and how manifesting those ideas in art affects the human mind’s conception of them. I rewrote my entire thesis proposal (again), and found some new sources to better direct me in this new direction.
Today I finished annotating a source from yesterday about the effects of outside stressors on the brain and how they are processed to target organs. I also found a source from Daily Mail that discusses a study from the University of Illinois that discovered that too much increased concentration has negative effects on brain activity because it depletes glucose levels.
So far, I’m having a very productive vault time! I already have three great sources on the science of noetics and the idea of a “mental universe,” which I think plays into my topic in the sense that we have not only manifested this idea of infinity, but created it as well. Noetics also works with the idea of a soul, defining it as the spectrum of the universe’s energy field with which a certain individual relates in their lifetime. This can tie in not only with this concept of mental infinity, but with the religious aspect of infinity and how the concept of a “soul” has played into so many human conceptions of infinity and how it applies to us as individuals.
These sources deal not only with mental and emotional infinity, but with physical infinities as well, because this idea of a mental universe is closely tied with quantum physics and the research of Albert Einstein and many other notable scientists. I hope to find maybe one more source on this before I move on to another portion of my topic, but thus far I am making wonderful progress and finding some very interesting information on my topic!